Harness Weekly Update: Spotting a pattern on Hambletonian Day

August 7th, 2022

The TwinSpires Harness Blog Weekly Update covers our successes and failures from selected features, stakes, and the H2W (horses-to-watch list). H2W horses through the following Monday appear in the next Update’s results.

Thursday, Aug. 4

This week’s Mohawk Miles selections presented a second for Dance Number ($2.70, $2.10) and a third for Tactical Mounds ($3.40).

At Scioto, we won with Fear Of Sports ($2.60, $2.20, $2.20 OK), finished second with Mcseaside ($4.40, $3.60), third with Shes Loveable ($9.40), and sixth with Jumping The Line (10-1).

Friday, Aug. 5

A 59-1 shot got Pretender ($3.00, $2.60), the major contender at The Meadowlands.

Saturday, Aug. 6

Here are the results for our contenders in the races we chose to handicap on the Hambletonian program at The Meadowlands in the order of their success (with prices). See the News & Notes section below for specifics on the day.

Catch The Fire ($9.60, $4.20, $3.00)
Kilmister ($7.00, $2.60, $2.10); Oh Well, ($2.20, $2.10), Exacta $13.40
Justice ($3.80, $2.60, $2.40); Castle House ($8.60)
Max Contract ($3.60, $2.40, $2.20); Treacherous Dragon ($5.20); Sweet Rock Deo (out of the money)
Joviality S ($4.40, $3.20); Fast As The Wind (out)
Mambacita ($2.40, $2.20); Una Madonna ($3.20)
Test Of Faith ($2.20, $2.10); Mikala (out)
Night Hawk ($2.60)
Baptism (out)
Weslynn Quest (out)
Take All Comers (out)


The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Exactas listed include a H2W horse finishing second to a race-favorite or if the first two finishers are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses form a cold exotic combo; most base prices are $2). The note “OK” determines that prices are correct (even when a show price exceeds a place price or all prices are the same).

Please note that some results reflect horses racing after the blog posts (they appear the following week).

This week, there were 26 H2W horses (15% win-hit rate and a 44-percent ATB [across-the-board] hit). Horses with asterisks before their names were tweets @FrankCotolo. Follow for late choices.


Fashion Cantab, $4.40, $2.10, $2.40 OK, Philly
Brace For Landing, $4.40, $2.60, $2.40, Meadows
Te Amo Blue Chip, $3.30, $2.10, $2.10 OK, Monticello
Lady Newton, $2.80, $2.20, $2.10, Meadows


Leapsnbounds, $4.70, $3.70, Red Mile
HS Judy Jetson, $4.00, $3.00, Meadows
P Chico, $3.10, $2.30, Red Mile


Datsyukian Deke, $5.00, Running Aces
Grateful Express, $3.20, Vernon
Nebble Hanover, $3.20, Scioto


As followers of the TwinSpires harness blog know, we’re responsible for backing a lot of double-digit winners, mostly contenders that wind up unpopular with the public at post time. Sometimes, though, we are a week ahead of the winning performances for these outsiders. The Hambletonian Day program at The Meadowlands supported this pattern. Documentation is always available by following the horses we follow in features and the H2W.

The 2022 Hambletonian winner, Cool Papa Bell, was our choice to win his elim. He was our only choice in that race and he went off at 15-1, finishing third, paying $3.80. We won on Aug. 6 with Catch The Fire (see list above), but before that he was our pick in the William Haughton Memorial in mid-July, finishing ninth at 41-1. In a Hambletonian Oaks elim, we singled Misswalner Fashion. She went off at 13-1, broke and finished eighth. On Aug. 6 she won the Continental Victory and paid $45.40.

All of the horses competing in this year’s Hambletonian will become automatic bet-backs in their next race, or the one after that if they break or face another adverse condition. This is because throughout history, the Hambletonian fields contain the division’s best colts and fillies so the stakes becomes a “key” race, meaning the greater percentage of horses in the field will win their next race. The public is rarely fooled, so the bet-backs are short-priced winners. Still, the percentages show they are overlays for the fact that winning is what they do mostly after racing in—no matter where they finish—the Hambletonian.

Extraordinary Extras

Indulge in our column Alternative Actions at Harness Racing Update.